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Cocoa: Prices Resume Ascent After Short Pause Due to Uncertainties

Published 03/10/2023, 03:12 AM
Updated 07/09/2023, 06:32 AM

The global industrial chocolate market may reach US$ 57 billion by 2023, recording a 4.4% CAGR. By 2033, the market is expected to reach US$ 87.68 billion.

Meanwhile, May New York cocoa CCc2 fell 0.04% to $2,755 a ton. On March 1, the May futures price hit $2,856, the highest since December 2020, as cocoa became the final soft commodity to post a multi-year peak. May London Cocoa Futures rose 0.4% to 2,141 pounds a tonne, propped up by the weakness of sterling.

Remarkably, about 70% of the world’s annual cocoa supplies come from West Africa. While the Ivory Coast and Ghana are the leaders, Nigeria and Cameroon are top-five producers. Supply tightness in the Ivory Coast caused the most recent rally in the cocoa futures arena.

Dealers said the market was undergoing a modest pullback after rising last week to a 3Yr high of $2,856 but fundamentals remained supportive with a second successive global deficit seen this season. Cocoa prices have seen support from concern about the quality of some West African cocoa crops.

Cocoa farmers continue to struggle with the lack of fertilizer and pesticides as the war in Ukraine has limited Russian exports of potash and other fertilizers worldwide. But eventually, uncharacteristically heavy rainfall in most of Ivory Coast's cocoa growing regions last week created preconditions to improve the size and quality of the April-to-September mid-crop, the smaller of two annual cocoa harvests.

March appeared a still-challenging month for cocoa futures after a memorable rally in February instigated by reports that some Ivory Coast cocoa exporters are close to defaulting on their contracts due to a lack of cocoa beans, with some shortage estimates as high as 150,000 tons. 

Important supportive factor for cocoa prices is reduced cocoa supplies from the Ivory Coast.  Monday's government data showed that Ivory Coast farmers sent a total 1.72 million metric tons (MMT) MT of cocoa to Ivory Coast ports for the 2022/23 marketing year from October 1 through March 5, down -1.7% YoY.Summary 

According to ICCO, the 2022/23 season is anticipated to result in a limited supply deficit while demand is envisaged to be subdued. The expectation of a supply deficit has also been compounded with weather variations, especially in West Africa. Cocoa butter is expected to dominate the total industrial chocolate market in 2023 with a CAGR of 3.5%. The U.S., a leading industrial chocolate market, is expected to reach US$ 15.2 billion.

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